LAS VEGAS — The WBC middleweight championship holder, Jermall Charlo, was criticized by Jose Benavidez Jr. a 31-year old boxer from California, U.S, for accepting a catchweight battle at 163 pounds instead of putting his WBC middleweight title on the line before their bout on November 25, that took place at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
On the undercard of his opponent’s brother David Benavidez, Charlo(33-0, 22KOs) made his comeback after a two and a half-year absence. Due to injuries and mental health concerns, Charlo had not boxed since mid-2021.
Benavidez Jr.(28-3-1, 19KOs) was chosen as a strong comeback opponent for the bout, although it was predicted that the Charlo would easily defeat him.
At first, Charlo, 33, from Louisiana, U.S, appeared to be a boxer who had been out of action for a while, but toward the conclusion of the first round, he began to get into a rhythm.
A strong counter right hand clearly surprised Benavidez Jr. as he attempted to back the WBC middleweight world champion up against the ropes.
Despite this, Benavidez Jr. used a similar strategy in the second round, as the two engaged in back-and-forth fighting.
In the fourth round, Charlo outboxed Benavidez Jr. and repeatedly landed strong blows while standing in the middle of the ring.
In the fifth, Benavidez Jr. fought back, unleashing blows on Charlo against the ropes. But as they approached the midway point, it seemed like Charlo was finally winning the battle and in control.
Charlo was obviously the better boxer, even though Benavidez Jr. had some success in the second half, he was still far from comfort.
In the last round, the WBC middleweight world champion wounded his opponent severely with stronger punches while attempting to finish the fight via knockout. But in the end, the KO proved to be unattainable, as Charlo prevailed via unanimous vote.
“I’m happy for the win, but the power definitely wasn’t there,” said Charlo in media reports.
“I want to fight three or four times, let people see me, see me well…. In whatever division I limit, the goal is to dominate,” he added.
Scorecards for the judges read 98-92, 99-91, 100-90.